Woman sentenced to prison for misusing veteran husband’s disability funds

Published: Oct. 4, 2022 at 8:15 PM CDT
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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KAIT) – A Jonesboro woman was sentenced to prison for misusing more than $143,000 in disability payments meant for her injured veteran husband.

On Tuesday, Oct. 4, United States District Judge James Moody, Jr. sentenced 49-year-old Brandi Goldman to 20 months in federal prison.

A news release stated in 2013, Goldman was married to a United States Army Reservist who suffered a brain injury in a service-connected accident, leading to Goldman becoming his guardian.

Goldman’s husband began receiving disability payments, and she would sign an agreement with Veterans Affairs detailing the terms of her management of his finances.

“In part, the agreement stated that funds were to be used for the beneficiary and that Goldman was not permitted to borrow, loan, or gift money belonging to the beneficiary,” said Jonathan Ross, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas.

From April 2015 to Nov. 2015, records showed Goldman received $258,613.54 in disability payments and $36,000 in Social Security payments. During that timeframe, she had withdrawn $199,649.30 in cash and accrued about $900 in ATM and overdraft fees.

Goldman admitted to spending much of the money on drugs, with about $150 being spent on meth two to three times a week. She also said five other people moved into the couple’s home and would give cash to those people regularly.

The news release also said Goldman paid $68,000 in cash for other belongings such as another home, furniture, a vehicle, and a trailer. She told investigators she purchased vehicles for several people and gave money to her daughters as well as her husband’s parents.

“To steal from a veteran who is incapacitated is an egregious crime. However, that this crime was committed by a fiduciary is particularly pathetic,” said Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Breen of the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General’s South Central Field Office.  “Today’s sentence should send a clear message that the VA OIG will vigorously investigate those who would exploit our nation’s most vulnerable veterans.”

A grand jury indicted Goldman in July 2020 with one count of misappropriation by a fiduciary and one count of theft of government funds. In June 2022, she pleaded guilty to the misappropriation charge in exchange for the other count being dismissed.

In addition to her prison sentence, Judge Moody sentenced Goldman to three years of supervised release and ordered her to pay $143,000 in restitution.